Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

Modern Touring

Posted: June 1, 2019 in entertainment, Music, touring, travel

Wanted to share this, For most, it is is very true. You gotta have a plan for when things go wrong – and they always do lol


What Touring Looks Like for Unestablished Bands

By Patrick McGuire

When non-musicians think of bands on tour, they typically conjure up scenes of crowded venues, indulgence in the form of sex, booze, and illegal drugs, and thriving young musicians without a care in the world.

The stereotypes associated with touring are often wrong and typically only pertain to established artists with resources and sizable followings.

Look closer at the touring segment of the music industry, and you’ll see a completely different and markedly less glamorous side to touring. Every night around the world, there are thousands of small struggling bands most people have never heard of taking stages to play in front of audiences of little to no people.

The following is a vague outlining of what touring is like for bands who aren’t famous, wealthy, or critically acclaimed.

Booking tours is a hellscape of pure tedium

Bands with big followings usually have booking agents and managers to book and route their tours. Unestablished bands and artists are on their own.

Emailing and cold-calling venues is an essential but typically awful part of DIY touring. Months in advance, bands usually split the duties of contacting venues and asking for shows. Most of the emails and phone messages small bands leave these venues go unanswered, and for good reason.
Even when venues don’t pay small bands to play (they often don’t), they risk losing money by booking them because they don’t have proven followings to show up and drink. This proves to be hugely challenging for small bands trying to build a national following, and they’re often forced to pursue shows for little to no pay wherever they can find them.

All the non-musical details are handled by you, the artist

From asking the venue’s bartender for payment after the show to procuring places to sleep along the tour route, all the non-musical aspects of touring are handled by the musicians playing in unestablished bands.

This means that musicians have the jobs of performing well on stage to think about in addition to a myriad of unpleasant tour obligations to consider. If you and your bandmates just partied till 4:00 AM in New York City, which one of you is going to move the van by 7:00 AM so it doesn’t get towed?

Who is making sure you have enough cash for toll roads?

When the friend you were supposed to stay with backs out at the last minute and you have no money for a hotel, what are you going to do?

Most musicians obviously love the performance aspect of touring, but situations like these often prove to be huge managerial challenges for unestablished bands.

The shows are sparsely attended and often story-worthy

From wretched sound systems to the experience of playing in front of literally nobody save for a venue’s staff, DIY shows can be rough experiences for unestablished bands. It all comes down to the economy of touring, which is heavily not in an unestablished band’s favor.

Unestablished artists and bands don’t always have the ability to bring people, and in turn money, through the door, so they’re left to settle for shows at places not ideal for hosting shows–new venues with no reputation or built-in crowd, raucous dives 30 years removed from their heydays, strip mall coffeeshops that want you and your band to convert to a different religion.

These places almost always lack audiences and the money to pay touring bands and artists. With some exceptions, this means that small bands are forced to make financial sacrifices in order to tour. Not only are they not being paid, they’re also willingly going without reliable sources of income for as long as they tour.

Ask an unestablished band about their experiences touring, and you’re likely to get inundated with tales of wasted audience members, sound monitor feedback horror stories, and the never-ending quest for drink tickets.

You’ll sleep on lots of floors

Since money is hard to come by in DIY touring, booking hotels or AirBnBs is almost always out of the question. Unestablished bands almost always spend their nights camped out on a fan or friend’s floor. This, combined with the fact that many bands drink and drug after shows, inevitably translates to a lack of sleep.

Night after night of this begins to wear on a band, even if it’s comprised of energetic musicians in their early twenties. But blowing even $50 on a room for a night doesn’t make sense when your band only made $27 the night before and still has to pay for gas to get to the next show.

You might just have the best time of your entire life

Yes, there’s massive drawbacks to DIY touring, but tours for small bands can also bring lifelong benefits.

For new bands without performance experience, playing the same set over and over again is a chance to develop musically and forge a real musical identity. The friends unestablished bands make on tour often end up being important connections and resources later in their careers. And there’s something almost sacred about setting out with a group of musicians to defy the odds and actually find success.

Touring makes or breaks bands because it’s incredibly hard and thankless work. The musicians who can handle the many pitfalls of DIY touring are more likely to embrace music-making over the long-term than those who can’t.


Been thinking this morning (the kind of thing that gets me in trouble) and thought I would do a count of all the States I hit between May-June and late August-September of this 2010 season.  I lost my GPS in New Mexico and my nifty Harley map took flight I’m guessing somewhere in Oklahoma, so I really got around during the September trip by just saying “that-a-way”.

I could list Towns, but towns I went through – way too many (I do highways remember?).  Towns I stopped in – still quite a few.  Towns I played in – that’s all relative to ones I was invited to versus the ones I just stopped & set up shop.

I based out of Arizona and Arkansas, so I went in & out of them a lot; and, of course, always cutting through Texas to avoid some of the harsher weather.  I may have also done East Kansas one trip & West Kansas the other … just like North & South Indiana, Eastern & Western Virginia, and so on.  Unfortunately it seemed that every time I had a break to go visit with media-types it would decide to rain; not your everyday rain but a downpour that lasted for days.

I’m less organized than I should be, generally just keeping receipts to jog my memory.  For some reason I learned a lot this year compared to previous years; I’m thinking maybe its because I got it into my head to actually keep track for possible publicity purposes; but I still didn’t do a very good job of it.  I think 2011 will be a whole new ballgame… people are starting to come out wanting to get involved – I like that!

For today, I’ll stick to States… Y’all Ready??

New Mexico
South Dakota
West Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Mexico
New Mexico
West Virginia
New Jersey
North Carolina
New Mexico

Nice little run-around eh?  It was roughly 18,000 miles a shot.  I was very pleased with the way the bike held up, in fact not a thing went wrong unless I made it go wrong with my tinkering.  I do have a knocking in my lifters but I think it might just be cheap gas – whenever I add Sea Foam it goes away.  I wanted to rake out the front end this winter while I’m home, but that’s a $1000 project which I just don’t have the spare cash for.  Oh well.  Still hoping one of the bike makers will come through but I’m not holding my breath.  I mean, can you think of a better road test for your bike than one of my road trips??  Everywhere I stop people ask about the bike & the customizing that I’ve done…

Above & beyond list this year… I want to thank Ed at Team Apache in Mesa, AZ for letting me call & pick his brain a little while I was on the road.  There was also a place called Golf Carts for Fun in Aubrey, TX who took the time to try & fit my trailer with new tires.   There was an Auto Zone near Bristol, VA who set me up & let me change my oil in the parking lot (the entire year I used Mobile-One 20/50 synthetic oil and Mobile-One filters so I didn’t have to go searching for a motorcycle shop).  And there was Karen who kept my equipment safe, and Tom in PA who showed me some cool places – including a shop to buy heavy leather gloves that I needed for $3… I bought an extra pair.  Oh yeah, and Sunrise Honda in Searcy, AR who cleaned up my wiring and did a flawless job of hooking up my trailer.

Enough for today.


Took a leisurely day trip to Winslow, AZ on Monday.  Lynda wanted to try a road trip, so a run to the mountains turned into a 400 mile cruise.  More than she bargained for I’m sure, but it was a nice ride straight up Hwy 87.  When we got there a group of Swedish-speaking Harley riders with Illinois license plates were gathered in town.  It was my guess that they were following Route 66 from end to end.  Now that would be a ride to talk about!

AaPhoto07051418 APhoto07051357

The way back was interesting.  On some maps there is a Hwy 99 that heads to Hwy 260 by Heber, AZ.  On those maps its portrayed as a finished road… well the first 30 miles or so it was.  A beautiful empty road through the middle of open range.  You felt so far into the middle of nowhere that I started thinking about the bike and what a lousy place it would be to get a flat 🙂  I think we saw 2 cars in the entire stretch.

But it didn’t last – a dirt road appeared without warning and ran all through the forest.  It wasn’t bad as dirt roads go, but the bumps were enough that I had to go so slow it took a couple hours to do that last 25 miles.  We left Phoenix in the 8 am hour and got back in the 9 pm hour – drop an hour for dinner in Payson where a couple, in their 70’s or 80’s, thought I was a celebrity.  I could see in there eyes they were going to think about that for days.  Anyway …

But it was along the Rim and I saw some great places to go camping, and the scenery was beautiful, so it was well worth the exploration.  I know I’ve been there before, but for some reason it all looked new to me.


One thing it did accomplished was putting me back into “road mode”.  My hand is doing well enough that I can get back out and do some more of this tour; but my guitar is sitting in Arkansas waiting for me, but I can also pick up a trailer there once I put a hitch on the bike.  I also have some miscellaneous equipment that KarenLee is holding onto for me.

Ok, off the subject, I do have a question.  Why is it that a pickup truck and trailer of anything makes people feel invincible?  I saw 2 or 3 near accidents happen just because somebody wanted to be first in line.  Doing 80mph on 45mph curves is not always the smartest thing, particularly with a top-heavy vehicle pulling a trailer, ya know?  I found myself hoping they would tip over (but glad they didn’t, it would have been a mess for the rest of us).

Like I tell ya, the road never ends.


This fix on my hand seems to be doing the trick, and not a moment too soon – here come the monsoons.

What they did was to pull my thumb out of socket & stuck a needle in with a shot of something or other which is suppose to last up to 6-months.  It won’t, but it should buy me at least 2 or 3.  Talk about painful!  But I’m rough, I’m tough 🙂

The surgery they have to do is a 4-month recovery, not 4-weeks like I thought; so I figure I can hole up for the winter & I’ll be ready for next season – and better organized.  Meanwhile, I’ll be in & out of Arizona for the next couple of months with my standby touring that has kept me in the loop the past couple of years… but I’ll also take a good look at taking advantage of some of the acting & other opportunities I’ve been passing on.  The only outfit I can think of that’s capable of taking care of me properly is William-Morris Agency, but its been a lot of years since I’ve been in touch with them.  Anyone have any other ideas?

Hey, make me an offer I can’t refuse!  I’m game for something new, I’ll even lift my 20+ year boycott on Arizona for a few days if I have to.  Minus a couple articles I’ve just come across, the new press kit is finished and I’m feeling good about it for a change.  I do need to get back to Arkansas before I settle in for the winter and there’s plenty of places in that neighborhood wanting me to show up, so the year won’t be a complete bust.  I also need to line up some charity work to keep me occupied.

Which shifts me into biker mode.  I’ve already put on 9000 miles which is 5-times more than anyone else I know will put on in the entire year.  I should have another 5000 down easy before I’m done.  No where near what the year could have brought, but oh well.  Someone ought to tell Jay Leno that I’ll give him lessons – for a price.  The bike is running beautifully and that cheap-ass (Dunlop) front tire I had to buy has shocked the hell out of my service guys – it should be ready to be replaced but it barely looks touched.  Shows how much weight I’ve been carrying on the back.  But they have a special category for me called “things we’ve never seen before”.  In my opinion those bike makers that passed on sponsorship really screwed up.

For those of you who haven’t kept track of me the past few years I’ll bring you up to speed;  I don’t have tattoos (don’t understand the appeal), I dress the same every day as I do on stage (you can imagine the looks I get), I haven’t had anything to do with bike “clubs” since I was a teenager (seems like a hassle), and I don’t have any tolerance or respect for anyone who sticks their nose in the air… they will never see what I have.

Sounding full of myself? :)  Yeah, well, I’m tired of the bullshit; I don’t need it and finally letting it go was what I needed to do to move on.  On the other hand, I’m a blonde musician on drugs.  Hell, my IQ dropped 20 points just typing that.  Settle down, they’re prescriptions, I have a messed-up back, remember? 

The support you folks have shown me the past few weeks have given me a boost like never before.  You’ve been patiently following the ups & downs of an old fart on a mission and have read things I’ve been embarrassed to tell… as you’ve seen from the deletions.

You haven’t let me down and I won’t let you down … I know that Everything is possible.


I’ve been noticing something lately … well, I always have, it’s just making another pass through my mind…

Unless its’ the only place you want to be known in, people are rarely accepted in the place where they live even though they may be well known elsewhere.  So why do you suppose that is?

Anyway… I go to a surgeon next week about my hand.  I don’t pretend to know anything about x-rays & stuff, but there is something strange to the side of my thumb so we’ll see what the new Doc has to say about it.  For any kind of surgery it may take 4-6 weeks before I have unrestricted use so I need to figure out what I’m going to do with my time.

I was all pumped for this year too.  You know I wouldn’t have done this blog & stuff unless I was expecting the out-of-the-ordinary.

Hmmm. Might be a good time to break in a band.  Don’t “need” to write any songs, I have dozens of unreleased songs already.  Could go out & meet some locals; I haven’t been involved in the local scene since, well, the 80’s.  But I guess as far as MLA Records goes, a little PR might be something I should do.

I also need to talk to Agent types.  Not just music, but acting and general appearances as well.  Yeah, there’s actually a lot I need to get done.  I’m the type who’s busy as all get-out on the road, but when I’m home I become anti-social and stick close to home.  I guess its because the people around me don’t push me on to excel, so I relax.  Couple that with no great need to impress anyone and my tolerance for the bullshit becomes null.  I’ll work on that.

There are also a couple interviews I’ve been putting off.  That might be an excellent place to start.

But We did start something here, so I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading; just to let you know how things are progressing.  Maybe doing this will give me the push I need.  And, hey, if you have any ideas, I’m open to them.


Meanwhile, go to Reverbnation/walkercaine or the website and listen to a couple tunes.  Once in a while I do a free download just to see if people are paying attention 😉


I made back into Phoenix; albeit it was the toughest part of the entire trip.  It just seems like forever going in & out of the desert.


The Ozarks are beautiful.  If you’re a biker-type with a few days on your hands, I highly recommend a visit.  But I had a shot through tornado alley between two storms headed for each other … so I took it.

Heading out of Arkansas through Oklahoma was a nice ride.  All of OK was overcast and the air was perfect.. although OKC seriously needs some road work in spots.  I’ve been kinda paying attention to that … so far the worse City roads are in Omaha.  The worse Interstate roads are Ohio, Indiana, and New Mexico – in that order.  Oklahoma wasn’t exactly a joy either.  The worse Highway roads belong to… no one.  They were all as good or better than you would expect.  Now the best City roads was the Wilmington area – I didn’t venture into very many major cities.  The best Interstates were Virginia and Tennessee.  The best Highways were Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arkansas, and maybe New Mexico.

The stupidest interchange was in Baltimore at I-695 to I-95.  What are you people thinking bringing all that traffic into one lane??  Road construction was scattered along the trail, but it wasn’t a hassle at all; in fact everywhere they were kind enough to post signs specifically for bikers warning of grooved pavement, rough road, and fresh oil.  Well, until I got to Arizona… they seem to think a sharp pavement edge & slick oil is a nice trick to play.

I’m rambling now aren’t I … 

Ok, I landed in a little spot called Clinton, OK.  Looked like a nice place.  I ran into a young kid who had his finger on the pulse of every small town west of Oklahoma City.  Very much an up & coming promoter type which he claimed he wasn’t, so I encouraged him that he should be :)  I learned more about what was going on in the Oklahoma entertainment world from him in 30-minutes than all the contacts & internet searches combined.  He even told me where I was supposed to play next month.  Anyway, apparently Elvis Presley had a jones for this place and “owned” a room in one of the local hotels – which to this day will not allow anyone else to stay in.  I thought that was a cool little piece of trivia.

The next morning was fog and a nice ride it was too.  Right about Texas it ended – because the winds were blowing it away.  Let me tell ya, that ride through New Mexico was a killer.  Some places the winds & gusts were so bad I had to putter along at 40 just to keep my center of gravity; I swear those wheels left the pavement with one of the gusts.  It took me all flippin day to get through there, But… Ft. Sumner is having their western days :)  It’s a nice little town, been through there many times.  Official home of Billy the Kid’s grave.  Some pretty women in that town too.  Oh, and there was another place, I can’t remember, every time I turned around there was some knockout walking by, I couldn’t believe it.  Yeah, yeah.  Hey, I’m I guy, you’d have to be dead not to notice sometimes.

I stopped in Magdalena for the night; I wanted to keep going but the wind was getting worse.  It might not have been so bad but there was a bit of traffic along that stretch and a slow motorcycle on a very dark highway could get hit.  If not for the wind I bet I could have done that Iron Butt ride pretty easily, I had enough on my mind to keep me occupied for hours.  Besides, US60 in Arizona is a really nice ride for the most part, especially Show Low to Superior.  Best seen in daylight.

Looking at this, I’m really not saying anything am I … and trying real hard not to talk about ‘now’.  Looks like something out of a travel guide. LOL

I haven’t cancelled “everything”, yet.  If I can get my act together I might still get back out on the road.  Out in the eastern States my back was feeling better but my hand & arm were a problem; here my hand’s not so bad but my back is giving me pain.  Go figure.  And I’m getting to spend some time with Alyssa while the little one is at Girl Scout Camp.  We used to do everything together, but with college & all I don’t see much of her.  

Such a drag.  What’s that they say about the best laid plans?  It’ll work out, it always does one way or another, it’s just that I hate it when things get screwed up. 

Maybe I need to stick to a band so all I have to do is stumble around & sing :)   I think about dropping out again, but my alter-ego just got nominated for some award.  As any recluse will tell you, nomination ain’t winning.  Let me know how it turns out.

Our adventure may not be over yet folks, just detoured for a bit.





We tend to put limitations on ourselves, and our ability to adapt can either expand our world or box us in.  So what’s up with these invisible walls?  Why do we allow outside forces to dictate compromises even when its against our better judgment?

Waler Caine talking to a few fans

I had article after article written out in my head as I rode along, but when I stop I go blank.  I’ve written 3 of these but they seem like useless dribble.  So do I publish 3 or 4 short ones or one long one?  Yeah, long one… skip over the useless dribble 😉

This year has been a little different from the norm.  For one I actually have destinations and time schedules.  And for two, either people are onto me or its just the sight of a biker with a guitar.  Still though I’m realizing that I’m better known than I considered.  All along the trip there’s been people hanging out their car waving and hollering … and the hot biker babe in Illinois who nearly lost it waving and yelling to me (yeah, I saw you) 😉

As we left off, Omaha was one rain cloud after another and generally uneventful.  Sure, I got to hang out with Bob but with 4 or 5 days of rain I really didn’t get a chance to get out and do some of the things I wanted to.  The downfall of a motorcycle.  It’s not so much riding in the rain, it’s looking like a wet cat when you get there.

Another world-class musician hidden in the Midwest is my drummer Greg.  You know Greg, he went by “Gus L. DaBere” on our CD’s.  Alyssa was “Abby Normal”, Bob was – and is – Boboo.  Walker Caine was suppose to be a band name.  Jeff LaBar, Alyssa and I were talking one night and he mentioned playing until we went on stage with canes and walkers.  That stuck with me, it said something.  It was perfect.

But how do you promote a band that hasn’t been put together yet?  Then people started contacting me as Walker, and Greg coined me as “Capt. Walker”.  So I just went with it.  You know how someone would give you a nickname and that’s what you’re remembered by?  Yeah, I have a few of those.  I do kinda like Capt. Walker though 🙂

Where was I?  Oh yeah, Greg.  I didn’t get to visit with him nearly as much as I wanted and I thought I would be back through there; but it was great to see my very good friend again nevertheless.  Hi Nancy 🙂  Anyway, He went on about the songs we haven’t finished, so if he’s ready to take another crack at ‘em, then maybe its time that we did that.  I’ll give you a call Greg and send you whatever equipment you need.  I think those lyrics were starting to come to me, but…

NOW, Getting back to things; I left bright & early on Sunday morning for a ride to the coast with a stop in Columbus, Ohio.  Unlike the first half to Omaha, I was really into the ride and rarely stopped.  I did get a flat somewhere, I think it was Ohio but I’d have to look at my receipts.  I thought to bring a portable air compressor, it got me to a Napa for a puncture kit.  No more problems after that except a few new rattles thanks to the roads in Indiana & Ohio.  And contrary to weather channel reports, I came across no storm damage whatsoever.  I stopped to help a traveler or two, but for our story that doesn’t count.

KarenLeeI rolled into Wilmington, DE on Tuesday.

Our KarenLee and I have been working together on different things for about 10-months and I was looking forward to this and not the least bit disappointed.  We fit together.  We worked our songs and hung out here & there.  She has a beautiful voice and great ideas.  When I’m stuck on lyrics, she promptly filled them in with verses much better than I would have done.

Anyway, we practiced, did our studio work and laid a few tracks.  She fed me and kept an eye on me.  She’s a good girl.

When we were finished, I was taken sight-seeing through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen, complete with covered bridges and fabulous Amish farms.  Being an avid horseman at one time, I was thoroughly impressed watching young kids driving 6-horse side-to-side teams.  That’s not an easy thing to do.  KarenLee

I wanted to stay longer to see more and go through other New England States.  If it weren’t for the winters cutting into my ride time, it might have been impossible to leave.  What can I say but “thank you Karen” for the best week I can remember.  I look forward to more.

In the midst of all this, the pain in my arm & hand was getting worse by the day, so I ended up cancelling some gigs.  I headed south into Shenandoah country.  I’ve always been a sucker for Virginia and would move back there in a heart-beat; living there was a productive time in my life.  But as I approached Tennessee, the voice in my head threatened me if I didn’t stop to see Sam Legard.  Ok, the voice was Karen on the phone … she was looking out for you Sam.

Well, that detour to Greeneville was just the ticket this time and a ride on Hwy 70 was a blast!  I had met Sam a couple years ago via Twitter.  I promised I’d stop & do some serious drinking with him last year, but for one reason or another I didn’t make it that far east.  I’m glad I met him, he’s a good man – ya know?

I probably should have stayed there for the night because by the time I was 40-miles out of Nashville I hit the nastiest rain storm of the trip … never in my life have I gone through Tennessee without rain, it’s getting old.  But stopping for the night turned out to be a good thing because that next morning I saw Tennessee; something I haven’t noticed since I was a kid.  I was going to move there at one time but…  (see first paragraph)

There aren’t any east-west highways in northern TN unless you want to spend 2 or 3 days getting through it, so as I rode down I-40 I began laughing at myself – how many guitar-toting songwriters go through Nashville without stopping, and then completely bypass Memphis?  Only me huh?  It seems almost sacrilege.

I caught Hwy 412 and settled in to the rest of my ride.  I got lost – on a straight line!  An Arkansas Trooper appeared from nowhere and gave me a map.  Good thing because I was about to turn a one hour ride into a day-long journey.  Somehow, I finally made it, and here I sit in the Ozarks trying to get organized and get my arm working again.  It’s beautiful country and every road through these mountains is an adventure – full of curves and trees and sudden shots of gorgeous scenery.  Its also nice just being closer to civilization rather than out in the middle of the desert.  And the restaurants here are not your normal variety, I could really get used to this.

AAVID00001 This is music country.  This is where Elvis, Buddy, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others got started by touring these small towns.  What makes me think I can compete when there are people who can run circles around me and don’t even do it professionally?  I’m not what you’d call a good musician, my voice isn’t as good as it once was.  But I am unique, I’ll give it that.  I can act and put on a decent enough show, but the line has faded.

My GPS says I’ve done 5700 miles, but its not on all the time.  Being able to spread out a bit I finally scrubbed the bugs off of my bike, tighten things up & changed the oil.  I would say that Honda makes a great machine, but since they aren’t sponsoring me I won’t 🙂  Those cancellations hurt and I’m pretty much out of money.  If I were smart I would book a week-long gig or get a job, but I’ve never accused myself of being smart.  And who would hire someone like me?

Saturday I took a ride down to Mountain View to see if anyone was playing in the park and ended up talking to all kinds of people.  A couple times I found myself wishing I had brought my guitar, but they were passing moments.  There was a biker event going on in town for a new business and there was some kind of rally going on north of there; I had been seeing a lot of groups riding.  I should have stayed longer.

That’s enough dribble for today.  Everything’s good and my head’s still attached, but the screw’s loose.

We may never know how this turns out; life is full of curves and trees and sudden shots of gorgeous scenery.

Walker Caine promo shot